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The Big Answer


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Return Of The Group: People may have evolved to further collective as well as individual interests

an article in Science News by Bruce Bower

(our site's article review)

Bower looks at man in a rather bee-like context—what are our collective evolutionary possibilities?
Bower looks at man in a rather bee-like context—what are our collective evolutionary possibilities?

In a somewhat claustrophobic treatise on the ins and outs of group evolutionary processes, Bower looks at man in a rather bee-like context—what are our collective evolutionary possibilities? He comes to no revolutionary conclusions, mostly because “Evolutionary biology and other fields are sharply split regarding group selection. It will take decades for a full consensus to emerge” says David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary biologist quoted by Bower.

Hundreds of millennia of human evolution selected genes which supported humans surviving by living in small bands
Hundreds of millennia of human evolution selected genes which supported humans surviving by living in small bands


Hundreds of millennia of human evolution selected genes which supported humans surviving by living in small bands
Hundreds of millennia of human evolution selected genes which supported humans surviving by living in small bands

In the meantime, we have this interesting article about hundreds of millennia of human evolution selecting the genes which supported humans surviving by living in small bands, pooling information, and solving problems collectively. Humans now have families, governments and other institutions doing the latter. Could we have evolved as mere competing individualists? Not a chance. Collectivity gave security, power, information, comfort, warmth and motivation. The other creatures would have made humans extinct long ago if not for their ability to cooperate.

Other creatures would have made humans extinct long ago if not for their ability to cooperate (the tiger will just wait for the fire to burn out)
Other creatures would have made humans extinct long ago if not for their ability to cooperate (the tiger will just wait for the fire to burn out)

Darwin himself realized the pro-survival quality of cooperation in his writings.